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Can internal migration foster the convergence in regional fertility rates? Evidence from 19th century France


  • Guillaume Daudin

    (OFCE - Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques - Sciences Po - Sciences Po, LEDa - Laboratoire d'Economie de Dauphine - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), DIAL - Développement, institutions et analyses de long terme)

  • Raphaël Franck

    (HUJ - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • Hillel Rapoport

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


This paper offers an explanation for the convergence of fertility rates across French départements in the second half of the nineteenth century that emphasises the diffusion of information through internal migration. It tests how migration affected fertility by building a decennial bilateral migration matrix between French départements for 1861‐1911. The identification strategy uses exogenous variation in transportation costs resulting from the construction of railways. The results suggest that the convergence towards low birth rates can be explained by the diffusion of cultural and economic information pertaining to low‐fertility behaviour by migrants, especially by migrants to and from Paris.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume Daudin & Raphaël Franck & Hillel Rapoport, 2019. "Can internal migration foster the convergence in regional fertility rates? Evidence from 19th century France," Post-Print hal-01830768, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01830768
    DOI: 10.1111/ecoj.12623
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Baudin & Robert Stelter, 2019. "The rural exodus and the rise of Europe," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2019-005, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    2. Florian Bonnet, 2019. "Beyond the Exodus of May-June 1940: Internal Flows of Refugees in France during the Second World War," PSE Working Papers halshs-02134214, HAL.
    3. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2014. "Fertility and Modernity," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0779, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    4. Vincent Bignon & Cecilia Garcia-Peñalosa, 2018. "The Toll of Tariffs: Protectionism, Education and Fertility in Late 19th Century France," Working papers 690, Banque de France.
    5. André Gröger, 2019. "Easy Come, Easy Go? Economic Shocks, Labor Migration and the Family Left Behind," Working Papers 1086, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

    More about this item


    Fertility; France; Demographic Transition; Migration;


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